Monday, December 30, 2013

In with the arguably new

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve.  I'm not making any resolutions.  I don't do that.  Instead I adopt New Year's guiding principles.  So they don't get kept or broken.  Rather, I make my case to the board.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Elderberry Saturday Random Ten

An older gentleman accosted - maybe not the right word but a good-sounding one - me outside a grocery store tonight.  We'd met before a few times at a branch library.  He started telling me about the renovations they did at the central library, as well as their Civil War film series.  We chatted for a few things before his bus came and I went onto my next errand.  Older people seem more liable to start a conversation out of the blue with someone they don't really know.  As long as you don't get too morbid or political, it's not a bad habit.

1. Ladytron - Fighting in Built Up Areas
2. Taj Mahal - Fishin' Blues
3. R.E.M. - 9-9
4. Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa
5. They Might Be Giants - Let Your Hair Hang Down
6. Nellie McKay - Long and Lazy River
7. Imperial Teen - Out From Inside*
8. Morphine - Candy
9. Joni Mitchell - Coyote
10. Amy Winehouse - Intro/Stronger Than Me

*Sure I risk typecasting myself as an indie pop fan with so many choices like this, but I'm beyond caring.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A draining experience

So my bathtub has been blocked up pretty bad this week.  A few causes for this.  There was a drain protector when I moved in, but it tended to float around away from the drain whenever the water level rose, which was rather counter to the point.

Pouring hot water down the drain worked once, last weekend, for a couple of days.  Then it didn't.  Mixing vinegar and baking soda and pouring that down the drain didn't have any noticeable effect.  Finally what I did was get a plunger, once of those new accordion style plungers.  It took some doing and some waiting, but finally I was graced with an empty tub again.  And then replaced the strainer which, knock on wood, should put the problem behind me.

Anyway, thank you for your patience.  Saturday Random Ten this week.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Delicate flowers

The above is from the 1953 film The Blue Gardenia, directed by Fritz Lang. Of course it's a beautiful song performed by Nat King Cole, and yes, that's Raymond Burr at the table. Don't get too attached to him. He's a sleazy bachelor who brings the lady - played by Anne Baxter - back to his absurdly huge bachelor pad under false pretenses while she's drunk off her ass. Pretty much an attempted date rape ensues, he's dead the next morning, and she flees with big gaps in her memory. For Lang, who of course gave us M, this is a relatively light feature. It's not as harrowing and paranoid as classic noir could be. Still, there's grit under the glamour.

Southern has two roommates: a savvy model played by Ann Sothern and a goofball played by Jeff Donnell (a woman.) This makes her the least fun of the women as well as the lead, but she deals with it pretty well. The movie's secret weapon, though, is George Reeves. He's the police captain searching for the "Blue Gardenia killer", and he buffaloes through with a mixture of bonhomie and threat. He would go on to be the most avuncular of the live action Supermen, but he was imposing, physically and otherwise.

Monday, December 23, 2013

I catch the paperboy...

Two types of quark are in play here: strange and charm. This is a very nice little film. I'ts got a subtle doubling of effect, where you can see the materials Milo is made out of, just as they were before being pressed into anthropomorphism. And then of course you can also see the boy.

Anyway, please enjoy.

milo from Mike Brauner on Vimeo.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Edited Friday Random Ten

It's probably a good thing that this blog doesn't reflect all the false starts, the things I thought I was going to write about but for one reason or another abandoned.  It would just make things impossible to manage.  If/when the internet turns telepathic, there's gonna be some dull stuff.

1. Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers
2. Gogol Bordello - Sally
3. Dinah Washington - My Ideal
4. R.E.M. - Shaking Through
5. Roxy Music - Still Falls the Rain
6. Nellie McKay - Yodel
7. Amy Winehouse - You Sent Me Flying
8. Ladytron - All the Way*
9. Imperial Teen - Last to Know
10. Morphine - All Wrong

If I stop doing the FR10, there's another music-based feature I've thought about doing, and this is a prime candidate.  As well as an amazing song.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A little bit of the fruit

While everyone knows Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby," - or perhaps more accurately, Madonna's version and the mind-boggling array of covers that followed - Pearl Bailey's "5lb Box of Money" may be the materialistic Christmas song that really lasts. It helps that while Bailey was actually quite attractive in her youth, she doesn't lean on the sexy in the song, going more for self-effacing humor. That makes it easier for those of us who aren't hot chicks to identify with.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shaver's war journal

Day 1: Saturday
Hacked my chin up pretty bad.  Crusted over.  Soon forgot about it.

Day 2: Sunday
Razor fell on exact same spot, opening the wound.  Hurt like a bitch.  Eventually re-scabbed.

Day 3: Monday
Didn't shave, both because of time restrictions and I don't need the heartbreak.

Day 4: Tuesday
To be determined

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Meet your neighbors

I just started reading High Rise today.  It's a pretty well known dystopian science fiction novel, written by J.G. Ballard in 1975.  The novel concerns a forty story high rise - hence the title - that serves as not only a living space but potentially the entire social world for its tenants.  As in, why ever leave?  But there are downsides to having such a closed-off society.

The book starts in media res - or perhaps after all the action; like I said, I just started - with the protagonist chowing down on someone's dog.  So yes, I am aware that this is an interesting choice of Holiday reading.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Random Ten with bells on

There was a work holiday party this week. Specifically for the department I work for, as opposed to the whole agency. The unusual thing is that I work off-site - another guy and me - as far as the rest of the department is concerned. Not parsecs away, but another building owned by the agency. So for some of the others, the ones who used to be closer neighbors, it was a nice little reunion. For others, it was like a visit from St. Nick's elves.

1. They Might Be Giants - Celebration
2/ Jimmy Smith - I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So
3. Talk Talk - Today
4. The Bird and the Bee - What's in the Middle
5. Amy Winehouse - October
6, The White Stripes - Cannon
7. Joni Mitchell - Furry Sings the Blues
8. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Night Rally
9. Ladytron - Whitelightgenerator
10. Pink Martini featuring Meow Meow - I'm Waiting for You

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The guest of honor

Two times in as many days they've told us that the Big One is coming, the snowstorm that's going to bury us. Hasn't quite worked out like that. Sunday night going into Monday we got snow mixed with rain, but the latter predominated so much that no snow was left over by Monday lunchtime. Today we've got some accumulation, but very shallow and basically only on patches of greass. Don't get me wrong, though. We've definitely crossed into some wintry patterns. Just not the way it's been cracked up to be.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In various nutshells

For all the cameras out there - public and private - it doesn't seem more people are really looking, really seeing what's around them than before. Probably not many fewer are either. It's just that there's an imbalance.


This photographer, Lisa Kereszi, does seem to have it on the ball. Her compositions capture both beauty and decay - the latter in the natural sense, not necessarily the gothy ones. These pictures don't have a lot of people in them, but you can picture a human element.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday Random Ten going into Saturday

Yeah, this one is a hybrid as I was transcribing song titles onto paper on Friday but forgot to put them up on the blog until today.  Oh well.

It's the first FR10 of December and a couple of weeks after the time when I start leaving the water out.  That is, in the summer and the warmer parts of fall and spring, you can keep water in the fridge and it will be refreshing cold but not so cold it hurts to drink it, or at least not for long.  After a certain point in the year that process just takes too long, so you adjust.

1. Rasputina - Remnants of Percy Bass
2. Yo La Tengo - Point and Shoot
3. Morphine - In Spite of Me
4. They Might Be Giants - Dog Walker
5. Ladytron - Soft Power
6. New Pornographers - Silver Jenny Dollar
7. Sarah Vaughan - You Hit the Spot
8. Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band - Death Cab for Cutie
9. Gogol Bordello - Sally
10. Nellie McKay - The Downlow

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't worry, not all posts will be like this

This is, you know, kind of obvious? Just about all of us have heard guys finishing declarative sentences with a high rising terminal? Even if it's more embarrassing for them than it is for girls? We're talking mostly younger men and teenage boys? But sometimes men in their forties and fifties too? So it's just kind of a stereotype we've projected onto the opposite sex?

Also? I've heard the Frank Zappa/Moon Unit Zappa song "Valley Girl"? There's hardly any uptalk in it? Maybe the headline is a little misleading?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Which way? This way!

Still not doing a really ambitious post, but what are you gonna do?

These kinetic sculptures by Lin Emery are quite something. They strike me as quite playful. Whether the process of making them was playful I don't know, but the movement of the objects appears as a kind of play.

Incidentally, this is the better of two videos I found with the same subject and similar images. The other was on Vimeo and its musical backing was... unfortunate

Monday, December 2, 2013

Now that's beat!

Oh dear.  I'm so tired, I can't think of anything funny to say.  Now would not be an ideal time to face a firing squad.